Happy September, everyone. It seems this year is flying right by at warp speed.
Last month we visited the parts of a sentence, the words, how to use them. This month, I'm going to share with you some wonderful tips. I recently read an article pertaining to the art world. The further I read, the more I thought these words could pertain to our art as well...our writing.
Here is my paraphrase of
To Improve Your Art, Ignore The Subplots
by John P. Weiss
"Nature does not capriciously scatter her secrets as golden gifts to lazy poets and luxurious darlings, but imposes tasks when she presents opportunities." ...Edgar Payne
In essence what this is saying...you must have a well rounded knowledge of nature in order to create stand-out work. I'm taking that a step farther...if we have an exceptional knowledge of words, how they fit together, how to plot, outline, and use proper grammer and punctuation, our project will stand in its own excellence.
Too many times we cut corners because of deadlines, when if we took those extra steps...describing colors, textures, characteristics...our completed project would have other layers of dimension. It wouldn't fall flat.
We're all guilty of adding too much information, as well. Sometimes we need to simplify not magnify our characters or plot. By honing in on one aspect instead of several, we could set the scenes better for what we try to convey.
Lately, I've found with my own writing that bunny trails happen. Other characters scream in my head to put them into the story. Soon, the story takes on a whole different meaning than the one I'd originally plotted. I write those screaming characters down anyway, hoping they will add to the theme not detract. Once an idea hits your mind, you may as well go with it and play it out. You can always delete or sharpen up the chapters when you do your initial edits.
If you remember in last month's blog, I mentioned we were going to learn 6 very important words...
those words are Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
HOW refers to the basics, to honing your writing. It also speaks to the values of your writing...the plot, the outline, the style, the word count. grammar, composition, punctuation. We cannot move forward in our stories if we don't have the basic skills to write the story.
**How will you engage your readers?
**How will you keep them reading, coming back for more?
**How will you evaluate the progress of your project?
**How will you market your product?
WHY deals with your reasons to write this particular book. It's your emotional response. Give your project a title right at the beginning. It will allow you to see the whole picture of the why. Make an outline, even if it is only one sentence, of your reason for what you are about to create. Your book, story, and/or article needs to have purpose behind it.
**Why have you chosen this subject matter...this genre?
**Why do you want to bring your story to the masses?
WHO in this instance takes on many jobs.
**Who is the target of your writing?
**Who are your characters?
**Who are YOU? (for the author blurb)
**Will you dedicate your book to someone? Who?
**Will you acknowledge anyone? Who?
WHAT is where you get to the meat of your story. This is where you shine as a writer, as a storyteller.
**What issues are you writing about?
**What scenes will best portray your characters' qualities?
**What can you do to make your characters multi-dimensional?
**What needs to be done to assure a quality product?
WHERE takes on the meaning of different things as well.
**Where is your story set? (location, room, etc.)
**Where will you market your finished product?
**Where will you write? (when you are comfortable, you are most productive. For some it is propped up in bed. For others it is in the recliner. Still others must sit at a desk, or outside on the deck. Wherever it is, make sure you are comfortable...that you have everything you need by you. I urge you to take frequent breaks...get up every 90 minutes and stretch, get something to drink, walk around, go outside. You'll find just those five or ten minutes will clear your mind and you'll be ready to get back to writing.)
**When in time is the setting of my book?
**When do I want to set my completion goal? (Publishers sometimes set that goal for us, but it is good for us to set a goal of completion as well.)
**When do I begin marketing?
**When do I do a cover reveal?
The general public has no idea what goes on in the process of writing. Some authors don't either, and it shows in the poor quality of the products they publish.
I've only touched the surface of what we authors go through to write and complete a quality product we are proud of...one that we feel will touch the lives of others. That, if it isn't already, is our goal.
Until October, Happy Writing!!!!